Are you tired of being surrounded by too much stuff? Then, it may be time to downsize your home and join the tiny house movement.
Today, due to a convergence of environmental and financial factors, simplicity is in vogue. Simple has become a branding word, from Real Simple and Simple Living magazines to a variety of supermarket brands Simple Harvest, Simple Selections, Simple Indulgence just to name a few.
This trend is not just limited to magazines and consumer products. The tiny house movement is a reflection of the growing desire for older adults to reduce their environmental footprint and simplify their lives, without giving up their creature comforts. Here’s how to get started.
Where do we start if we want to simplify our lives? One way is to accept blogger Dave Bruno’s The 100 Thing Challenge. He started a movement to reduce belongings down to 100 things and rid our lives of excess stuff. If that sounds too scary, you could take a step-down approach by putting things in storage for three months, and then letting them go.
Personally, I never made it down to 100 items, but, I did manage to get to 200. If you’re looking for motivation to help you downsize in retirement, you can read my story here.
If we accept the challenge to simplify, a smaller living space is a possible next step. Choosing a simpler, smaller lifestyle could mean less stress, more money, and greater freedom.
Tiny houses are at the center of a social movement to dramatically downsize living space to around 400 square feet. The Small House Society, formed in 2002, has grown to include hundreds of people from 100 countries around the world.
As evidence of the growing interest in tiny houses, Gregory Johnson, one of the facilitators of The Small House Society says that Internet searches for small houses have grown from a few hundred in 2002 to over a billion searches today.
Tiny houses frequently are built on wheels. Not to be confused with mobile homes or travel trailers, they are generally made with high quality green materials and craftsman architectural details.
If the idea of a tiny house appeals to you, you can hire small house builders, or find tiny house plans and kits for do-it-yourselfers on the Internet. The adventurous could do like Patty Dotson from the Tiny Houses Audio Interview and buy a small house off Craigslist!
The housing industry is not a fan of tiny houses. After all, they make more money building bigger houses. Municipalities like bigger houses for increased tax revenue. Consequently, small houses are not always welcome in a community.
Building tiny houses on wheels can sometimes circumvent zoning ordinances designed to keep them out, by getting them classified as RVs.
Jay Shafer, founder of Tumbleweed Tiny House Company (tumbleweedhouses.com) describes living in a tiny house as an act of civil disobedience, and the right of human beings not to be forced into consumerism. He has designed a Tiny House Village that has been favorably received in Northern California, which he hopes will become a model for responsible housing everywhere.
The tiny house movement is only one part of a more significant trend towards simple, small, sustainable living. By embracing this movement, we can improve our quality of life while reducing our environmental footprint.
Looking for even more ways to simplify your life? Reach our previous article on how the share economy is enabling women over 60 to live better with fewer personal possessions.
Are you thinking about downsizing your home in retirement? Could you see yourself downsizing to 100 things or living in a tiny house? Please join the conversation